Saturday, June 23, 2012

Memorable visit by students of Class 7
from Jain Heritage School

Ishana Farms witnessed a trail of 45 young enthusiastic minds belonging to class of 7 from Jain Heritage School(JHS). This is was thanks to the efforts of Sudhir and Namrata Mahajan.
Several schools have visited in the past but this by far was the most energized and gratifying experience. Even the two teachers with farm backgrounds went down memory lane to share their experiences in their villages back home. At each juncture of the trail, it revoked a nostalgia on how agriculture was practiced at Ishana farms was the same in the villages once upon a time but no longer done now! Which is the sad truth.

Taking you back to the trail -  Students were first introduced by coming 'face to face' with the producer of their foods ' Farmers'. The students were split into 4 batches of 15 each with a Annadana farm educator to guide them through the journey of the seed to the plate.  The interest to understand and learn every aspect of integrated farming was joyful. To keep children captive and attentive is one thing but the inertia that came from within these students and the values imparted by the school and parents must be complimented.

Most student visits in the past to the compost, biogas, bio digestor yard are seen with such averse reaction to just the smell and profanities galore of disgust.
But students from JHS participated in all our activities by touch and feel be it the earthworms, cow dung, manure or compost without reacting to the smell. They handled each aspect with a finesse like no other. So refreshing.

Students excitement knew no bounds with the ' Vow and oh look at that" to the vast vegetable diversity captured when presented to them. Questions galore were shot out ...why cannot we see this diversity in the supermarkets? We then showed them a short crisp film on the Immortal burger and what junk foods does to their bodies. Their disgust was evident with the most impressive reaction of "Oh No, No more!".  We explained the food they ate now was devoid of this rich diversity and nutrients which is why disease was so rampant. A vow was then taken that should they pass by junk food places they will refrain from entering such places. A loud NO to junk foods still resonates in my ears. Absolutely heartening.

Now these young green guardians after the farm trail indulged in fresh hibiscus lime juice and cheered at the thought that they were actually drinking nectar of nature. They then watched the most thought provoking potent documentary film 'Poison on the Platter' and were horrified that this biodiversity was under threat from genetic modification. So they wished to go a step further and asked us how they could help in safeguarding biodiversity. So we in turn wished to know  ' how many would take the responsibility in conserving one variety and partake in 'save a seed to save a species' campaign? The answer in a animated unison was a "YES"   We then circulated " Adopt a seed" fliers with seed saving tips along a few heritage seeds of two varieties of tomatoes and brinjals. Boy oh boy...silence prevailed whilst they lapped up all the information and their queries answered. They then decided that they would faithfully sow the seeds and contribute back to our seed bank.  The intention to just do this was in itself encouraging.

A hungry bunch who now deserved food was packed and brought along to be served by Mr Raajkumar and team, was simple yet wholesome. He kept all students in check, cautioning them to not litter Ishana Farms. True to his word, when they left there was not a single plastic not a plate or food that was dropped nor wasted. We were most delighted to see discipline.  We thank Mr Raajkumar's conscious ways.  
With each effort to alert and educate students makes me realise that all our efforts in sowing seeds of consciousness over the years is well worth our while. You may view our face book link on Jain Heritage School's visit....

We hope to see educate many more students this season... our trails and teams are all set. Join us.

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